As we come up to Tisha B’Av, I am getting myself ready for the fast, or at least trying. It is interesting, I always go through a whole bunch of steps before the Yom Kippur fast. I cut down on my coffee, I try to get my body accustomed to a little less food, and a few other steps I take.
Tisha B’Av sneaks up on me. It comes without a lot of the fanfare. Many people who, like me, do things to get ready for the Yom Kippur fast do not do anything for this one. Still, it is interesting to note that, at least for me, this fast is tougher than Yom Kippur.
On Yom Kippur, I am at service for most of the day and my focus is on prayers. For Tisha B’Av, there is no restriction on working. Certainly services do not go the whole day. The mind can easily wonder to the fact that you are not eating, wonder more easily, at least for me.
What makes this fast even tougher for me is the time of year. The summer heat makes it tough and while it is a 25 hour fast, just like Yom Kippur, the fact that it ends so much later makes it more difficult. The fact that it starts later, at least for me, does not seem to help too much, certainly it does not offset the disadvantage of finishing later.
Still, there is something nice about this fast. In addition to the historic significance of the day, I have always felt that with all the tragedy that has happened to the Jewish people, it makes sense to have a National Day of Mourning. To me, that is what Tisha B’Av is. It is an opportunity to feel bad about all the tragedies that have historically befallen the Jewish People. This actually has a positive Impact on me and reinvigorates me for the rest of the summer.